More than 2,700 years ago, worshipers at a “holy of holies” shrine in Israel may have gotten high on weed. Researchers discovered burnt cannabis and frankincense at the site, which was located in the Kingdom of Judah.
Researchers made the discovery after analyzing ancient residues left on two altars at the shrine. The burnt cannabis is “the first known evidence of [a]hallucinogenic substance found in the Kingdom of Judah,” a region that now includes parts of the West Bank and central Israel, the researchers wrote in the study.
Once the cannabis was burned at the Iron Age site, “we can assume that the religious altered state of consciousness in this shrine was an important part of the ceremonies that took place here,” study lead researcher Eran Arie, the curator of Iron Age and Persian period archaeology at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, told Live Science in an email.
Archaeologists first excavated the site in the 1960s; they unearthed two fortresses, dating to from the ninth to the early sixth centuries B.C., that flanked the southern border of the Kingdom of Judah. During these excavations, archaeologists found a well-preserved shrine dating to about 750 B.C. to 715 B.C.
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